Thick layers of smoke blanketing the region is hampering BC Wildfire crews fighting the Talbott Creek fire near Winlaw in the Slocan Valley.
BC Wildfire Service said Saturday afternoon (September 12), a thick layer of smoke started to blanket the fire area and as a result of poor visibility, aviation resources were unable to fly as late into the day as they have on previous days.
BC Wildfire Service said helicopters fighting the blazes will resume flying when it is safe to do so, but may have to remain grounded for 24 to 48 hours.
“With responder safety as the top priority and because many areas of the fire are accessible only by air, fire response options are now limited until the smoke clears,” BC Wildfire Service said.
BC Wildfire Service said before the smoke became too thick, firefighters completed construction of a hose lay from the Slocan River to the east flank to improve water delivery to that part of the fire.
BC Wildfire Service said crews worked on the east side of McFayden Creek, in an area of increased fire activity and were supported by helicopters that dropped water from buckets until they were grounded by poor visibility.
“(Sunday) September 13, preliminary structure protection resources are being deployed along the Slocan River Road, starting at the Natlamp Road and continuing approximately two kilometres to the northeast,” BC Wildfire Service said.
“This will result in increased traffic and fire crew personnel along the Slocan River Road. Drivers in the area are asked to slow down and drive with caution.”
BC Wildfire Service said crews are also working where they can safely access the fire by ground, focussing on cooling hot spots identified on the fire's western flank.
“The fire has grown significantly to the north and along the ridge on the eastern edge of the fire.,” BC Wildfire Service said.
“Fire spots have also been observed at high elevations in the Draw Creek drainage.”
BC Wildfire Service said heavy smoke is expected to remain in the area for several days and could continue to limit suppression options, however, the smoke may also reduce the temperature and increase humidity in the area, which could lead to reduced fire activity.
As of Satuday, BC Wildfire Service said there were 121 firefighters on the ground with the assistance of nine helicopters before the smoke arrived.
There are 10 pieces of heavy equipment on the ground.
To the northeast from Tabott Creek Wildfire, the Woodbury Creek Wildfire has grown to more than 1,000 hectares. The fire, rated as "out of control" by BC Wildfire Service, was started by lightning August 15.
BC Wildfire Service said the Tedesco Forest Service Road (FSR) remains closed to both industrial and non-industrial traffic. The closure begins at the 18km marker on the Little Slocan Main FSR where the Tedesco FSR branches off, and includes the entire Tedesco road system.
BC Wildfire Service said the Little Slocan Main FSR remains open. The Tedesco FSR closure remains in place to accommodate response operations, ensure the safety of firefighters, and protect public safety. This closure will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified. Details and a map of the affected area are available on bcwildfire.ca.
Road closures and area restrictions are subject to change depending on fire activity. For the most current information please visit the bans and restrictions section of the BC Wildfire website for the Southeast Fire Centre, or click here for a map of the affected roads.
In the interest of safety, the public is being asked not to stop or slow on highway 6 or the Slocan river road to take photos of the fire. As both roads are narrow, slowing and stopping traffic can create significant safety hazards. We thank residents and visitors for their continued support and cooperation in this matter.